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5 Tips to Build Advance Reviews for Emerging Authors

You’ve read their manuscript. The contract has been signed. The design and editorial processes are completed.

As a publisher, you’re now ready to start the marketing process. But what if some (if not all) of your titles are from emerging authors? Gaining publicity and coverage for these titles can be a challenge for any publisher, especially smaller to mid-sized companies. After all, very few publishers have the budget or the time to plan extravagant promotions.

One of the best barometers to gauge a title’s potential success is through advance reviews. Building a solid collection of advance reviews for your titles is also a great way to help an author grow their following while procuring content to help sell your titles upon their release–everyone wins!

Having worked with several small to mid-sized publishers, our book marketing experts have outlined 5 tips for building advance reviews for titles from emerging authors.

1) Start with Family & Friends 

If an author has not yet already shared their book with their family and friends, this is the best place to start. Many emerging authors are often nervous about sharing their story with others, so family and friends may make them more comfortable. While you may not receive true feedback (everyone will say it’s the best book ever!), these early reviews will help you determine what themes readers are picking up on and what they do and don’t like. This information can influence your future marketing plans for a title.

2) Leverage the Author’s “Literary” Network 

Before having their first book published, many authors are passionate writers and are part of writer’s circles or larger groups on social networking sites such as Goodreads. Ask the author to reach out to their network of “literary” contacts regarding the “exclusive” potential of reviewing their upcoming book. You never know when the author may be connected to an influencer whose review can be placed on the cover to help increase exposure.

3) Utilize Existing Media List Services 

There are services available that give you access to media lists, such as NetGalley—one of the largest communities of book reviewers, media, bloggers, educators, and librarians, with over 300,000 members. These lists can provide both the book and the author with much needed exposure and can quickly build reviews from those outside of the publisher and author’s network. In many cases, these will be your first pieces of honest feedback on the book. While these services can be costly in terms of both money and time, we can help you save on both with our discounted, volume-based rates for publishers.

4) Contact Your Internal Media and Reviewer Lists 

As you collect reviews for each of your titles, whether from bloggers or other media outlets, make sure you’re adding their contact information to internal media lists that can be leveraged to help build reviews for other emerging authors. If you are working with major media outlets, these typically work on long lead times of up to 6 months.

5) Engage Your Existing Authors

As you launch your titles for the next season, introduce your new authors to your own internal author base. Many friendships are formed this way, and some authors may choose to co-promote and leave each other reviews.

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How do you build reviews for your emerging authors?